As long as I can remember, I have wanted to draw comics and today I have my first on the shelves of good (and bad) comic shops around the world, and on the digital storefronts too.
There’s a long story about how I came to comics, but the short version is that my neighbour gave an impressionable ten year old a copy of The Dark Knight Returns and that was that.
As long as I’ve been drawing pictures (twelve years professionally, more than that for fun), I’ve wanted to turn my hand to comics but the main thing standing in my way was myself. I’ve managed a few pages of self penned work here and there but they never felt ‘good’ enough for me. I wanted to be better so that my first impression was a good one.
I probably would still be waiting to be good enough were it not for the hand extended to me by Ales Kot. Ales got in touch with me a few years ago when he was making his entry into the world of comics and asked me if I would help put a pitch together, which for various reasons (see: the above lack of faith in my storytelling skills and my workload at the time) I said I would and then singularly failed to do so.
Some time passed.
Then, last autumn I read issue one of Zero; it was great and so I tweeted at Ales to congratulate him on said greatness. A few tweets and emails went back and forth and he offered me the chance to draw issue twelve. Insistent that I wouldn’t make the same mistakes that I had before (and actually deliver work this time), dates were pencilled in the diary. We met up at Thought Bubble and he asked if I wanted to move my issue up and draw number eight. I said yes (and sketched a couple of rough cover ideas which are in the post above). Then he asked me if I would like to draw issue seven, because it started in the desert and if there’s one thing I think I’m pretty good at drawing it’s the desert.
At that point I couldn’t work on anything any sooner than issue seven because I would be starting work on it that week, and that’s what happened. Four weeks of drawing, ably guided by Ales script and advice, then off to be coloured by the wonderful Jordie Bellaire and lettered by Clayton Cowles, the cover designed by Tom Muller.
The art at the top of this post is a mix of my layouts, uncolored and lettered pages, finished art and those cover sketches for issue eight (which I can’t wait to read).
It has been a great experience, and one that I want to have again. Which is handy because I have two more books lined up and ready to get drawing…
I was going through the archive earlier, looking for something else entirely, when i came across this and thought it might be of interest.
Since 2011, i’ve been doing lots of covers for Penguin USA and their reprinting of the backlist of John Le Carre (and in the last six months they have been used in the UK too, so you can find them pretty much everywhere).
Whenever I’m working on something like this, the first stage of the project is to read the book, and then submit a bunch of sketches to see which of them stick, and that’s what I’ve got here - pretty much every sketch that got sent off for feedback. Looking back at them, there are definitely sketches I would like to finish off, and I suspect some of them will find use for something else down the line.
No real reason for posting this other than i thought some of you might be interested in the early stages of work like this, and I can’t post anything from my current projects for a little while. Hope you enjoy a peek behind the curtain!
New art coming soon.
I totally forgot about this. And seeing as I’m on a tumblr rampage this week, I might as well post it now.
So last month I did some art for the launch of the new tomb raider game. I wrote a blog post about it here. Anyway, as is the case with these sorts of projects, how it goes is you submit a bunch of sketches and then work one of them up to finished art. Due to a slight miscommunication I ended up working the wrong piece up to a finished state. Luckily, I was ahead of schedule so I finished the correct sketch straight afterwards, but that long-winded explanation is why i have TWO pieces of Lara Croft illustration in my folio.
I was really happy with this one too, so here it is, along with the sketch and a third sketch that I really didn’t have time to do. Enjoy!
Over the last (almost) two years, one of the highlights of my working life has been my ongoing collaboration with Penguin USA on the novels by John Le Carre. I have blogged a fair bit about it - have a look in the archive if you want to see some more.
This time around it’s something special (at least for me), insofar as it’s a new novel (not one from the extensive backlist I have been working through).
I can’t say a huge amount as the story itself is wrapped in secrecy, except that yes, that is the rock of Gibraltar. And that’s your lot. I’m fairly confident that much at least is in the press release, and if you want to know why it’s on the cover of the book then you’ll have to pick it up when it comes out in May (up for pre-order on amazon now). Expect at least one more blog about this when it comes out.
I’ve also posted a few sketches for directions that didn’t work out - and the rough sketch that lead to the final piece.